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Study Finds Curcumin Rivals Antidepressants in a BIG Way


turmeric powder A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders has found that curcumin may relieve major depression. These findings add to the research conducted last year that revealed the efficacy of curcumin compares favorably to Prozac, one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants in the country.

Dr. Ajay Goel, the lead author in the latter study, said, “Unlike antidepressant drugs, which only ‘manage’ the symptoms by regulating levels of various neurotransmitters, a highly absorbable form of curcumin helps ‘treat’ their symptoms.” Management could be compared to a Band-Aid approach, but treatment involves getting to the root cause of the condition. Furthermore, this “management” comes at the expense of troubling side effects.

Curcumin Reduced Symptoms After Four Weeks

Because curcumin has properties that can boost mood and attack depression through several biological pathways, the researchers hypothesized it would be successful in reducing the symptoms of people diagnosed with major depressive disorder. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 56 individuals, they tested the effects of 500 mg of curcumin administered twice a day for eight weeks.

During the first four weeks, no difference was noted in symptoms between participants who took the curcumin and those who took the placebo. However, throughout the second four weeks, the spice was significantly better than the placebo in alleviating mood-related symptoms of the illness. These results show promise, and they build upon earlier research that indicates curcumin has value for the treatment of the mental disorder.

Curcumin Efficacy Compares Favorably to Prozac

A study published last year in Phytotherapy Research was particularly interesting, as it compared the efficacy of curcumin with that of fluoxetine, a drug also known by the trade name Prozac. Scientists administered either 20 mg of fluoxetine or 1,000 mg of a highly absorbable form of curcumin to 60 patients diagnosed with major depression. Curcumin proved to be only 2 to 5 percent less effective than the drug, and it was well tolerated by all the participants.

Why Choose Curcumin Over Antidepressants?

“It was fascinating to see patients treated with a highly absorbable form of curcumin and the antidepressant drug experience similar improvement in their depression-related symptoms,” relays Dr. Goel to Live in the Now. “This is a huge observation because the spice is not only safe, inexpensive and without side-effects but it will also help these individuals heal in more ways than one,” he notes.

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, Director of the Practitioners Alliance Network, told Live in the Now that he prefers a highly absorbable form of curcumin to antidepressants for many reasons. These include curcumin’s multiple mechanisms of action and side benefits as well as the serious side effects of drugs like Prozac. He provides the information below:

The spice uses the following means to fight depression:

  • Restores levels of serotonin and dopamine, the brain neurotransmitter called “happiness molecules”
  • Enhances the activity of other antidepressants, allowing a lower dose and less side effects
  • Slows neurotransmitter breakdown
  • Helps the regrowth of healthy new brain cells, especially in the frontal lobe, which is the region where thought centers are located

Curcumin involves side benefits rather than side effects. Below are some of the advantages:

  • Less inflammation
  • Pain relief
  • Cancer prevention
  • Lower Alzheimer’s risk

Prozac has a long list of side effects, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Inability to orgasm
  • Mood dulling
  • Suicidal and homicidal outbursts
  • Weight gain

Dr. Teitelbaum concludes, “When you compare a special form of a highly absorbable curcumin with antidepressants, it makes sense to choose the spice for mild to moderate depression.”

To learn even more about all of the clinically backed health perks of curcumin, see our article,
Benefits of Curcumin: Everything You Need to Know About the Healing “King of All Spices”


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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